Submissions and determinations
Submissions relating to on-farm eligible works and modelling statistics were invited from landholders. The following actions were taken with regards to submissions:
- Eligible works submissions were analysed by Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) staff and advice was provided to the NSW Healthy Floodplains Review Committee (HFPRC).
- Modelling submissions were analysed by Department of Planning, Industry and Environment–Water modellers. Outcomes of this analysis were provided to an independent advisor for technical review (Tony Weber, Alluvium). The HFPRC was briefed on the outcome of the review allowing them to make a more informed determination.
Landholders were given 42 days to lodge a formal submission to the Department regarding eligible works and model results. Border Rivers landholders were given additional time due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the ability to access consultants during that period. The submission period is normally 28 days.
The department categorised submissions based on the issues raised, for example:
- Contesting eligible works e.g. storage capacity, pump size, location of works etc
- Contesting modelling data e.g. rate of take, weather station data used, 3 year max average etc.
- Out of scope e.g. rainfall runoff should be excluded, previous policy changes etc.
Submissions were then distributed to modelling and NRAR staff for analysis.
Submission review documents were drafted for the HFPRC based on the evidence provided by the landholder and an independent analysis of this evidence by NRAR or the department’s modellers.
The HFRC reviewed all submissions and analysis and provided advice on each issue raised.
The department categorised submissions based on the following issues:
- Contesting eligible works such as: storage capacity, pump size, location of works;
- Contesting modelling data such as: rate of take, weather station data used, 3 year max average; and
- Out of scope issues such as: rainfall runoff exclusions, previous policy changes.
Departmental modelling and NRAR staff undertook an analysis of each submissions and prepared recommendations for the HFPRC to consider.
After reviewing and assessing submissions made by the registrant, the Committee prepares recommendations for endorsement by the Healthy Floodplains Project Implementation Group (PIG). Following the Healthy Floodplains Project Implementation Groups endorsement, the Director of Healthy Floodplains Project Implementation will review and either:
- Confirm in writing to a registrant that the original decision is upheld, and no further action is required; or
- Notify the registrant that the original decision has been overturned and provide the results of the updated analysis
Communication of HFPRC determinations
Landholders will receive notification of the determinations made by the HFPRC for eligible works and modelling submissions via a letter from the HFPRC. These letters indicate that the department would consider the committee’s advice and communicate its final determination to landholders in due course.
All results, including original information used in determinations and updated data as part of the HFPRC determinations were used in revised modelling and calculations in each of the 5 key valleys to finalise the calculations of licensed entitlements. In some cases, this has led to further improvements in the underlying models across the whole of a valley to ensure that issues raised through the process are appropriately incorporated for all potentially affected landholders where applicable. This is an important part of the process and ensures that the processes and modelling reflect the best available information and that they provide the most equitable process possible for the determination of licensed entitlements.